A Defining Moment Donald Grey Barn house (Invisible War, 1965) it was who first intimated that even though wars (moderns wars especially) are not fought with great intensity at every moment, every conflictual situation has a strategic, if not defining, moment. Barn house calls this a Guadalcanal moment. While many relators of the contemporaneous, yet chequered, history of what is this day politically correct to refer to as the Southern Cameroons may differ on what may be that defining moment, I choose December 2013 as pivotal land that for two reasons. The December 15, 2013, the Global Times Magazine of Nigeria (Vol 4. No 5) fronted a story will change the perception of not les than 20 million people directly. Six million of those people lived in the Southern Cameroons while fourteen million lived in Northern Nigeria. Joo Igbah reported that what could best be described as a “political somersault” was in the offing as citizens of the former British Cameroons (composed of the British Southern Cameroons and the British Northern Cameroons) await with euphoria the officialisation of the birth of the UNO State of Cameroun. UNO STATE DECLARATION: Nigeria looses 16 Local Government Areas to the UNO State of Cameroun, the kicker of that all important report read. These local councils which include Ganye, Jadda, Tongo in the Adamawa and Gashaka, Kurmi, Sardauna in Taraba and many others in Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba and Cross River states of Nigeria will be remerged with the Southern Cameroon as one nation loosely and tentatively called, UNO State of Cameroon. Sixteen (16) local government councils across five states in Nigeria are affected by this development. Joo Igbah expounded that the imminence of the UNO State of Cameroun was the result of a long journey and struggle which started in 1946. That struggle was characterised by manipulations and intrigues. But with subtlety and calculated subterranean moves, the group of agitators, while projecting a divided posture, is united in pursuing their cause using law, logic and facts to attract international sympathy. Today, through sustained awareness creation, the struggle may come to an end dramatically depending on how the actors play their roles. Igbah continued that at the centre of what appears as an intriguing melodrama are the United Nations (UNO), the Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Cameroun and groups of agitators of a new nation, the newest Africa is waiting to deliver via the instrumentality of the UNO. The UNO is undoubtedly the umpire. Global Times investigation revealed that diplomatic arrangements are on top gear to grant the trust territory a sovereign state of their own. The Nigerian government seems to be an unworried end loser, but the Republic of Cameroun is gasping in anger, ready to win the battle. The proposed new nation covers a total of 86,214 sq. Km geographical land mass and it is endowed with the most spectacular tourism hubs of Mambila Plateau in Taraba State, currently toasted as the masterpiece of tourism in West Africa. The other closely spectacular one is the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State. It also has on the affected portions in Nigeria, areas that are endowed with precious and mineral deposits. The largest game reserves in West Africa, the Gashaka Gumti Park, will also be ceded to the new nation. Long Walk to the UNO State of Cameroun Under the trusteeship agreement of 1961 the people in these areas were denied independence by the British government but advised to enter into a loose agreement of joining Nigeria or the Republic of Cameroun. With patience and perseverance, they are beginning to see their old age struggle translating into reality. Sixteen (16) local government councils across five states in Nigeria are affected by this development. The councils are in Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba and Cross River states of Nigeria. Our investigation revealed that diplomatic arrangements are ontop gear to grant the trust territory a sovereign state of their own. These local councils which include Ganye, Jadda, Tongo in President Goodluck Jonathanof Nigeria Adamawa and Gashaka, kurmi, Sardauna in Taraba and many others across these states will be remerged with the Southern Cameroon as one nation loosely and tentatively called, UNO State of Cameroon. The proposed new nation covers a total of 86,214 sq. Km geographical land mass and it is endowed with the most spectacular tourism hubs of Mambila Plateau in Taraba State, currently toasted as the masterpiece of tourism in West Africa. The other closely spectacular one is the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State. It also has on the affected portions in Nigeria, areas that are endowed with precious and mineral deposits. The largest game reserves in West Africa, the Gashaka Gumti Park, will also be ceded to the new nation. Palm trees and large areas of forest reserves are also economic potentials which the country is going to add to its already existing Bakassi oil rich peninsula. With the scramble of Africa in the 19thcentury, the country now known as Cameroon was a multiplicity of nation states even before the Portuguese exploration of the 15th and 16thcenturies. The people spoke different languages; the inhabitants of Southern Cameroon were of Bantu stock while Hausa and Fulani occupied the northern part of the country. There was a wide estuary lying south east of the great mountains; the territory was ceded to the Germans in 1884 and they gave Map of the UNO State of Southern Cameroon it the name Kamerun. But during World War I, the combined forces of Britain and France routed out the Germans from the Cameroons and divided the territory between them with the intention of integrating it into their respective colonies as compensation for the havoc done to them by the Germans. When the terms were submitted to the conference on the treaty of Versailles which established the League of Nations, it was agreed that each division of the territory should be administered as mandated territory. The French proceeded to administer their mandated territory but the British were reluctant because of the cost, considering it as a kind of liability. World War II brought about the collapse of the League of Nations whose trusteeship council became responsible for overseeing the administration of the old mandated territory which had been transferred to the UN as Trust Territory. The aim of the trusteeship was for the administrators to develop the trust territories towards self-government or independence However, Britain failed to deliver under the terms of the trusteeship agreement and instead proposed independence by joining. According to our investigation, this did not go down well with citizens of the trust territory who felt cheated by the arrangement and thought the UN should have rejected it, but it didn’t. Our source also gathered that independence by joining means by Act 76b of the UN Charter, which stipulates that independence must be total and without any conditions as well Act 102(1) and (2) of the Charter which states categorically that the terms of any union between a member state of the UN and another country must be evidenced in writing and a copy filed at the UN Secretariat which will publish it, but that failure to do so renders the agreement invalid under international law, as it cannot be cited before any organ of the UN. Meanwhile, where a UN resolution action seemingly goes contrary to thearticles of the UN Charter, it is the Charter provisions that prevail. GLOBALTIMES learnt that going by these provisions, it means vulturization or annexation of the UN trust territory of British Cameroons by both Nigeria and La Republique du Cameroon with the tacit support of Great Britain, which offends the UN Charter in a manner of granting independence to the territories. Besides, since the arrangement cannot be cited anywhere around the UN organs, it is evident that Her Majesty’s Government failed in the diligent execution of the trust responsibility it had assumed in 1946 to lead the territory of British Cameroons to self-government or independence.  See Barn house, Donald-Grey, “Invisible War” (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1965) pp140-141). The Battle of the then little known Pacific Island of Guadalcanal remains famous in both military history and actual history. Post the Japanese attack on Pearl Habour and the attendant declaration of war against the United States of America, the Japanese thought the Americans would opt for a frontal attack on all Japanese-occupies Islands. The American General Staff rather focuses its effort on Guadalcanal and thus decided to engage Japan on its own In April, 1961. GLOBALTIMES gathered that by resolution 1608,the UN had stipulated that before British trust over Southern Cameroons was to end on the 1stOctober, 1961, there was to be a tripartite conference comprising of Britain as the administering authority, the government of Southern Cameroons and the government of La Republique du Cameroun to draw up a treaty of the union embodying the agreed terms and understanding for the joining of Southern Cameroons to La Republique du Cameroun. Such agreed terms were expected to be the marriage certificate for the union. Since 1991, the Southern Cameroons began the quest to reclaim their independence which has been laying waste for many years. According to the arrowhead of the struggle, Professor Martin Chia Ateh, considerable efforts were made even at the time of independence for the UN to correct the mistake and injustice meted against the people of the trust territory, most of them who struggled to mobilize people towards self-determination and who had been going through hell both in Nigeria and Southern Cameroons. However, remarkable achievements are being recorded as currently evidenced in the UN willingness to rectify and regularize the independence of the UN state of Southern Cameroon. That is, all of the former British Cameroons controlled territory. The following facts are very informational and instructive. instructui instructive instructive: The handing over of the two maps (map of independence of La Republique du Cameroun on 1stJanuary 1960 and the map of the UNO State of Cameroon ( 86,214 sq.) km) to President Paul Biya of La Republique du Cameroun on 20th May, 2010 in Yaounde-Republique du Cameroon by Dr. AliAbdulsalam Treki, President of the 46thSession of the United Nations General Assembly. The handing over of two flags being the flag of La Republique du Cameroon on 1st January, 1960 and the United Nations Flag for the UNO State of Southern Cameroons(86,214 sq. km) to President Paul Biya of Cameroun on 1st June 2010 in Yaoundé-Cameroon by His Excellency, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki moon. The handing over of the following documents to President Paul Biya in Yaoundé, for information and action on 10th June, 2010 and the copy certified by the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency, Ban Ki Moon, of the identification card of Professor Martin Chia Ateh of the UNO State of Cameroon. They have also been given the official authorization signed by UN Secretary General for Professor Martin Chia Ateh to issue same identification cards to citizens of the UNO State of Cameroon. The invitation of the international Court of Justice (ICJ) of 17thJanuary 2011 (received February 2011 for the UNO State of Cameroon to forward its concerns to that world court for proper consideration since the world court deals only with states and not with individuals. Article 34(1) of the statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ): most recently on the positive declaration of President Goodluck Ebele Jontahan of Nigeria had closed the dispute between La Republique du Cameroun and Nigeria on who had sovereignty of Bakassi because Nigeria had seen UNO State of Cameroon emerge as the right owners of Bakassi. The approval of the United Nations Secretary General of the UNO State of Cameroon in a correspondence dated 17th January, 2011 to update contact with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) authorities for membership and provision of a country code for the UNO State of Cameroon as a country, a point signifying right of sovereignty and independence. The approval of the UN Secretary General to send a letter of intent to request for membership to become a party to the International Criminal Police Organization(INTERPOL) in the near future from the UNO State of Cameroon to the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization whose seat is in Lyon, France. The approval of the UN Secretary General of a letter of intent for the UNO State of Cameroon to request for membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The UN Secretary General approval letter of intent sent to both the President of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea concerning the completion of the establishment of their respective maritime boundary delimitation with the UNO State of Cameroon in application of Articles 1 and 3 of the treaty between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the republic of Equatorial Guinea concerning their maritime boundary of 23rd September, 2000. The above facts have demonstrated the success in the struggle led by Professor Martin Chia Ateh for the UNO Trust Territory now called UNO State of Cameroon. Communities living along the border areas are getting jittery over this development as there are eminent possibilities of separation of families by the border demarcation exercise. Our investigation further indicates that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria may have already sent emissaries to the three local councils in Taraba State involved in this arrangement, notifying them of their impending exit from Nigeria. The three council chairmen of Sardauna, Gashika and kurmi in unison were, however, said to have declined their interest in the new country. What is doubtful is whether they made their positions known public. There is, however, a prevailing mixed feeling among the people involved as GLOBALTIMES opinion samples reveals. In an interview, it was gathered some said their Ex-Secretary-general of the UNO; Kofi Ata Anan grievances were hinged on neglect; that they were being discriminated against as they are often referred to as Cameroonians in schools, work places and other areas. But leaders representing those areas in the National Assembly seem not to be comfortable with the development. Abdulrahman Terab representing Bama/Ngala/Balge Federal constituency from Borno in the National Assembly flatly denies knowledge of the agitation, saying “As a major stakeholder and a traditional ruler in my place, there has never been a time that someone came to approach me on this matter”, adding that anyone who claims to have involved them in the business by any omission or commission was just playing false. Reacting to the question of neglect which might have triggered the agitation, Terab said; “Let any Nigerian tell me, except he/she is not a true one, which part of the country has not suffered neglect. Go to the South-South and look at it”. He then advised Nigerians not to be fooled. But Ahmadu Funsunwan representing Mayo Belwa/Jedda/Ganye Federal Constituency of Adamawa State has a faint idea of the government. Says he: “I am not in the picture of what is happening now, but let me tell you that right from 2008 to 2011that I left Jedda LGC as a council chairman, there was such agitation spearheaded by one Jonathan from Tongo which is under my constituency. It was based on several letters that they received from one Professor in Bamenda, so they were apprehended at one time and brought to Yola and here in Abuja. I think Professor Maxwel Gidado with the former member Mr. Martins Babale intervened and these people were released on bail so they were about 13 in number. I can’t remember all but the leader is Mr. Jonathan”. Giving further sight into their activities, Funsuwa said: “The letters that I received on this matter in the office at the time, were also sent to chairman of Gwoza Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State, then to chairmen of Mubi, Michika, Ganye, Jedda, Tongo, even Gashaka because on that list, in Nigeria alone, there were about 16 Local Government Areas that were supposed to be in the new nation. These people even approached me then and I asked them; are we not trying to break away?” Funsunwa told them that Plebiscite issue had been delayed and could not come up now. “I even advised them to find a means of having dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria if they are actually serious. So I was with many letters, I even gave them out to SSS because I discovered that I cannot participate in that activity but definitely there were so many, and I don’t know whether the move is still going on,” he said. Perhaps, the person who has followed the matter with a measure of concern, raising motions in the House of Representatives to createawareness and galvanize action among the political leaders is Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi representing Gashaks/kurmi/Sardauna federal Constituency of Taraba State, which has been penciled down to move to the new nation. A lawyer by training, El-Sudi seems to be very knowledgeable about the matter regarding the legal implications and the political undercurrent of the movement vis-à-visthe Nigerian State. Fielding questions from GLOBALTIMES on the matter, El-Sudi explained: “Yes, it is true that some people from Southern Cameroons and some people from Nigeria are agitating for the formation of a new nation to be carved out of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroun and they constitute largely the UN Southern Cameroons which has its Head Quarters in Bamenda and the then Northern Cameroons with Head Quarters at Mubi. For the Nation they intend to form, they have already given alternative names; some are calling it Camonia, others are calling it Amonia; Azonia too is also being suggested as the third alternative”. Delving into the genesis of the problem, the lawmaker recounted: “a historical antecedent of this movement is as a result of what happened in 1884 in Berlin during the Berlin conference when the European nations sat down to balkanize Africa and then gave out nations or geographical entities to various European countries. Incidentally, the part I am talking about particularly which in Nigeria form more than about 15 to 16 Local Governments which include among others Gashaka, Kurmi, Sardauna in Taraba State. It also includes places like Ganye, Tongo, Jaddain central part of Adamawa State. Then we equally have some portions of Fufore LGA, we have Michika, Gulak, Mubi and Maiha. Now, after the balkanization of Africa, these places happened to fall within the political influence of Germany but as you know, Germany was defeated in the World War. After its first setback in 1918, the territory which it controlled in Africa was mandated to the United Nations. They were called Trust Territories. Because the world was fighting against Germany as a result of Hitler’s activities; so they now confiscated those places and the League of Nations then was controlling that part and then subsequently after formation of the United Nations, then the United Nations took over but since the United Nations had no personnel, it entrusted the territories into the hands of Britain, that is why today, the Southern part of the Cameroons is Anglophone. The majority of the Cameroonian Nation is Francophone but the Southern part is Anglophone because it was ruled by the United Kingdom through a mandate that was given to it by the United Nations. “So in 1946 particularly on 13thDecember, there was a resolution that was passed by the United Nations and that resolution now instructed or gave those territories to Britain on the grounds that certain agreement would be reached and there would be transformation and the indigenes will be given the opportunity to state out whether they wanted a self-government or they wanted to join any of the already existing countries like Cameroun or Nigeria. So Britain continued to administer these areas until when Nigeria now got independence and the Republic of Cameroun also got her independence. These areas I have mentioned were not part of the independence movement as at that time. “So, a referendum (Plebiscite) before independence was made or conducted in1959 and at that time the result was challenged by some individuals particularly people from Ganye area. They were not comfortable with the results of the Plebiscite and therefore they complained to the United Nations. After the complaint, the United Nations then cancelled the Plebiscite in 1959 and rescheduled another one for 1961. So, there was another Plebiscite particularly in February-May 1961. So overwhelmingly, the inhabitants of this area, elected to join Northern Nigeria as an independent province. So, it was named Sardauna Province. So, Tafawa Balewa, Sir Kashim Ibrhim and the Sardauna of Sokoto all went to these areas and rigorously and vigorously campaigned for the inhabitants of these areas to join Nigeria. So in 1961 when they joined Nigeria, as Sardauna Province, certain promises were made but were not fulfilled until Sardauna’s demise.” But the issue before us now is the movement. They have various movements in the Southern Cameroons. They have the National Council of Southern Cameroonians, Southern Cameroonians National Council and so on. There are various organizations and they are agitating that after the Plebiscite, the Cameroonian nation (La Republique) has considered them as second class citizens. English is not recognized in some schools, they are compelled to speak French when they by their orientation, they are English-speaking. And there are certain positions that cannot be occupied by Southern Cameroonians. So this agitation for creation of an independent nation based on certain legal interpretations by some of their intellectuals prominent among which are Professor Martin Chia Ateh, professor of natural sciences and humanities and a consultant of the United Nations. So, this man now says look we want an independent nation. They are the Northern Cameroon and Southern Cameroon including some parts of Southern Nigeria like the Bakassi Peninsula. If you take the total coverage, it is about 86,214 sq. Km. So it is a very large country with more than 10million citizens. So they are advocating that they should be given self-government based on the fact that the Plebiscite that was conducted in 1961 was not registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations. As at that time, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swede was supposed to have accepted the conduct of the Plebiscite but he died in a plane crash over the Congo. So as a result of that, nothing was done so they now resorted to legal interpretation that Article 102 of the United Nations Charter says that any agreement that is conducted by the United Nations or any of its organs ought to be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations and sub-sect 2 provides that if such an exercise has not been registered, then the exercise is null, void and of no effect. So to them, the Plebiscite was fraudulent. Secondly, the United Nations resolution of 13th December, 1949 and that of 21st April, 1961 which gave certain conditions in either assimilating them with the existing nations or allowing them to have an independent nation have not been followed; as such there is a violation of the resolution of the United Nations; these are their arguments.” Asked what the feelings of his people were, El Sudi answered: well, there are mixed feelings. When they look at their level of development, some of them wish the movement succeeds. Some are of the opinion that lets remain in Nigeria. And one step I have taken which I observe with the Nigerian 1999 constitution, if you look at the definition of who a citizen is, it says: by birth, is one or both of whose parents belongs to an indigenous community to Nigeria as at 1st October 1961. So if you are saying that, if ones parents or grandparents were Nigerians in any of the communities before 1960; what of those who became Nigerians after 1961? Legally speaking, a strict interpretation will show that they are not citizens by birth and the implication there is that among the qualifications needed for one to be a President or a Governor of a State, you must be a citizen by birth but if you are to aspire for any other elective position, it only state that you must be a citizen of Nigeria. But for you to be the President or a Governor, you must be a citizen by birth which means one of whose parents have been indigenous to any part of Nigeria as at 1960. So it means that we are not qualified. Therefore, basically, we are being excluded”. What then is the way out for Nigeria in the matter? Says he: “You see, the 1963 Federal Constitution adequately captured that in sections 7 and10 when it set the section to take care of Northern Cameroon and it included that any part of Nigeria after independence as a result of the Plebiscite were recognized as citizens by birth. But glaringly, the 1999 Constitution omitted that. I have sponsored a bill and it has gone into second reading and we have been successful and I believe it will go into third reading and be passed into law. Once that is done, it means that we don’t have any impediments. While recalling an incident, he cautioned against the use of force in trying to settle the matter, saying: “I can vividly recollect sometimes ago, a Director of SSS arrested some people and said they were doing some subversive activities. What is subversive about issues? These things should be tested in the court of law if at all people feel strongly about them rather than just criminalize people randomly, you only make them stronger. I don’t believe in that approach.” Already, some UN troops have berthed Tiko Warf and moved to Bakingili in Victoria, arriving in 70 seater Buses last Monday 21st October, 2013. The first shipment of United States and United Kingdom soldiers with consignments of military weapons has taken strategic positions for the operation. According to reports by an underground newspaper, the Political Punch, published in Bamenda, Southern Cameroon the second batch of the peace keeping troops is being expected to occupy the territory in question for the effective implementation of the UN resolutions. Now the stage is set for the birth of another nation out of the continent of Africa. With the Bakassi imbroglio that left Nigeria the losers, it is doubtful if the Federal Government will like to pair up with the Republic of the Cameroon to fight to defend the statusquo. But indications show a huge reluctance on the part of the Nigerian political class to take up the gauntlet. Moreover, with many problems on its hands including size, poverty, widespread insecurity and the inability to manage the vast resources, Nigeria’s political leaders may have yet thrown in the towel. But it remains to be seen in the next weeks, even months how events will play out.. Joo Igbah asked the all-important question: Is the Nigerian State comfortable with the declaration which invariably will deprive the Nigerian State ownership of no fewer than sixteen local governments in five states of the Federation? From all indications it does not matter how Nigeria feels about it. Nigeria has no option but to learn.
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